Politicians have run on promises of sweeping gun control legislation that would clearly violate controlling case law under the Second Amendment. After every mass shooting, politicians pledge that they will get guns out of society when they know that such promises mislead voters on the range of permissible action in the area.
Despite the columns of many legal experts, that range of legislative action is quite limited as shown last week when a federal judge struck down California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons as a violation of the Second Amendment. The decision could be raised in the ongoing consideration of the nomination of David Chipman, WHO 总统拜登 wants to head the Bureau of Alcohol, 烟草, 枪械和炸药 (ATF).
In Miller v. Bonta, 我们. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego found that the ban on weapons like the AR-15 are based on both a misunderstanding of the weapons and a misinterpretation of the Constitution.
Claims surrounding the AR-15 are often detached from the comparative realities of this and other weapons. The AR-15 and other weapons in its class use an intermediate cartridge that actually is less powerful than that used in a rifle. The appeal of guns like the AR-15 is due to that fact that they are modular and allow for different grips and barrels.
Benitez noted many of the same issues in his decision. He held that the ban cannot satisfy any level of heightened scrutiny. He notes that the popularity of the AR-15 is due to its versatility. In the one controversial line of the opinion, he observed “Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle.”
The problem is that many politicians like California Gov. Gavin Newsom opposed the decision of the Supreme Court in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller affirming the right to bear arms is an individual right under the Second Amendment. The court has repeatedly reaffirmed that landmark decision. 在 2010, the court ruled that this constitutional right applies to the states as it does to the federal government since it is one of those “fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty.”
These cases are controlling, as politicians and commentators are fully aware. Benitez noted “the Heller test asks: is a modern rifle commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for a lawful purpose? For the AR-15 type rifle the answer is ‘yes.’ The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and keep the popular AR-15 rifle and its many variants do so for lawful purposes, including self defense at home. Under Heller, that is all that is needed. … Under the Heller test, judicial review can end right here.”
This is only the latest major ruling by Benitez in the area. 在 2017, he struck down the state’s nearly two-decade-old ban on the sales and purchases of magazines holding more than 10 子弹头. As recently discussed, the Ninth Circuit upheld his decision, which is now scheduled to be reheard by an 11-member panel. These cases have a very strong chance for review before the Supreme Court given the division across the country and the 6-3 conservative majority on the court.
The decision could have some ramifications in the pending nomination of Chipman as director of the ATF. Chipman is a former ATF special agent and senior policy adviser for the gun control organization Giffords. In his hearing, Chipman declared, “With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as it has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president. The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF’s SWAT team. It’s a particularly lethal weapon and regulating it as other particular lethal weapons I have advocated for.”